Sometimes you hear an artist who is hard to classify simply because he or she embraces so many different styles. That is definitely the case with Chastity Brown on her new album Silhouette of Sirens. The opening track "Drive Slow" is a good example. Brown's voice is soulful and reminiscent of Queen Esther. Meanwhile, the melody is sort of a brooding blend of rock and pop. Imagine if Queen Esther sang a song from Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and you have an idea of what this song is like.
The more you listen, the more you realize how complex this album is. Every song is layered with varying sounds. "Carried Away" is a great example. The piano is pretty poppy while the guitar part would fit just as easily in a 90s alt-rock ballad. The strings at the end add another whole layer to the song, which is tied together with Brown's soulful vocals. Don't be surprised if you find yourself listening to this with your eyes closed so you can just let the sound wash over you.
One of the more powerful songs on the album is "My Stone." On the first listen, you may only notice the acoustic guitar and the piano, but when you listen more closely, you hear layers just like in the other songs. The power in this song comes from Brown's vocals over a fairly stark melody. The effect is breathtaking. This is the kind of song that makes you stop what you're doing to focus on the music.
If you had to describe this album with just one word, beautiful would be an excellent choice. The songs are muted but complex and well-crafted. Brown's vocals are evocative, and it's impossible to listen to this album without feeling something. If you're a fan of good songwriting - no matter the genre - this album will be a great addition to your collection. Silhouette of Sirens (Red House Records) will be available on May 19.